Carl Albert Pettersson Holm was born on March 7, 1860 in Hemsjö (Alingsås municipality), Västra Götaland, Sweden. His father was a teacher and Carl was the second of eight children.
After immigrating to Iowa in 1876, he changed his name to Charles Albert Holmes. Ernst Skarstedt included a short biography of Charles in his book about Oregon and Washington. According to Skarstedt, Holmes went to Chicago in 1877 and returned to Iowa about four years later. In 1883 he traveled to Idaho where he herded sheep after having been a shop clerk, a stable hand, and even a deputy sheriff among Other types Of employment. He arrived in Portland in the fall of 1883 and found a job in a cafe. He was said to be a jovial person and loved to talk with a flying tongue!
Holmes married Grethe Pedersen in 1885 in Portland. She was from Norway and they had a daughter, Martha (1886), and a son, Thorgny (1888). Holmes found employment in the US Postal Service in 1890. Grethe died in 1891 at the age of 28 and the children then lived as foster children with a Norwegian couple, Matias and Boletta Borden in Reedville, Washington County, Oregon.
At the time of his death on August 10, 1940, Charles Albert Holmes was living as a lodger with Boletta Borden, his son Torgny, and Torgny’s two children in southeast Portland.